What licence to choose: Malta or Curacao?


May 7, 2024
This question is really for those who have experience with these two licenses. I've read numerous articles, and it seems like I'm leaning towards the Malta license, but the cost concerns me. Currently, I'm working on launching with the assistance of the vendor 2winpower; the manager recommends starting with Curacao (explaining that it's cheaper and quicker for a startup), and then eventually investing in the Malta license. But I still haven't made up my mind about it.

Any websites owners here? I'd like to hear some genuine feedback. What potential drawbacks should I be aware of with both Malta and Curacao? Is it accurate that obtaining a Malta license is more challenging?
Hello @Jamezzzz ,

I'm sure others will have some great info for you but I can say a few words based on 15 years of dealing with player complaints at casinos from both licensing jurisdictions you've mentioned.

The first item of note is that everything you hear about Curaçao licensing has to be taken with a grain of salt. First of all there are the historical issues with the Curaçao license and the pretty poor reputation they have. That's a totally fair criticism and there are heaps of documented cases to support it BUT not all things Curaçao were bad. To make a long and tiresome story short it came down to the individual operators: good operators = good casino, bad operators = best look elsewhere. Until recently a Curaçao license was pretty much putty in the operator's hands: what they chose to do with it was pretty much their own business.

The second thing regarding Curaçao is that the whole licensing system in Curaçao is supposedly being overhauled. There are some early indications that that's actually happening. Whether that proves significant enough to make the bad old days of Curaçao licensing a thing of the past remains to be seen but I will say this: reputations tend to stick in the iGaming scene. In other words in the absolute best case scenario -- meaning Curaçao really does turn over a new leaf and all is well -- it will be a loooooooooooong time before savvy players believe it and decide to "thumbs-up" Curaçao licensing.

As to Malta they too have a dark and dismal past but in the "modern era" of iGaming they've largely left that behind. They have tried very hard over the last decade to polish up their image and to a large extent have succeeded. So on the surface at least a Malta license now carries much more weight than a Curaçao license ever did.

That said all is not great with Malta licensing either: endless stories of corruption at even the highest levels, a troubled Complaints mechanism for players, MANY casinos willing only to follow the letter and not the spirit of their licensing rules of conduct, etc. Suffice it to say that the deeper you scratch the less lovely a Malta license looks, at least from a player's perspective. To be fair the same could be said of almost every corner of the iGaming scene so that's probably worth taking into account too.

Anyway, hopefully that gives you something to chew on. If you have questions please don't hesitate to ask, here or via Private Message if that sounds like a better option for you.

Max Drayman
Head of Dispute Arbitration & Player Complaints (PABs)
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As you are coming at this from the operator perspective, also check what your market availability looks like - your target markets will heavily influence what licenses you look at.

In the case of Curacao, the overhaul also links in with AML obligations being imposed - which excludes various markets including the US and UK. This is starting to cause a bit of an exodus, although the destination "licenses" are some of the weakest in the industry (which can work both ways - a good operator can succeed in a weak jurisdiction, but they'll be surrounded by a lot of cowboys and fraudsters ripping people off left right and centre).

MGA is currently the stronger license of the two, but the value is being diminished slightly as more European neighbours operate under their own regulator (UK, France, Germany, Netherlands etc). Also as Max mentions they're not particularly strong for player complaints right now - although the same could be argued of the UKGC (UK) and KSA (Netherlands) also at this time.

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